Chris Brady gave a talk in Phoenix Arizona on 8/8/2011 and referenced a diagram for understanding the roots by which people’s behaviors manifest.  I do not remember the speaker he referenced that had first drawn this out, however I offer the diagram below with his comments through my lens.

behavioral roots

1.)    Behaviors – Most people are solely focused on the behaviors of those around us.  We are concerned with HOW our friends, family, colleagues, managers, employees and customers act, rather than WHY they act.  Behaviors are only the top layer of understanding our fellow men and women.

2.)    Values – What is underneath our behaviors are our values.  What we value will determine the way we behave.  For example, a woman with children will act, vote, work and play differently than a woman without children.  I man who practices a certain religion will display behaviors differently than that of an atheist.

3.)    Beliefs (Worldview) – Our values truly come from our worldview or our beliefs.  This can easily be viewed when comparing spirituality, nationality or culture.  A way to understand it would be to think of how a 10 year boy in America will have very different beliefs about his opportunity in life from a socioeconomic standpoint than a 10 year old boy in Haiti.

4.)    Relationships – Our relationships truly dictate our beliefs or worldview.  If we have a personal relationship with a person who became a world famous professional athlete, our relationship with that person will dictate how we view athletes and/or sports.  Whereas someone with no personal relationship will likely have a much different view on professional sports and athletes.


Example #1

A business owner may try to understand why a customer buys or doesn’t buy his product.  This focuses on the behavior however that owner may want to look at his customer’s values and so on first.  For example if the business sells, smart phones the value can be perceived in many different ways.  For example one value may be that cell phones provide “advanced mobile connectivity” or the ability to utilize apps and the internet along with calling and text.  The belief or worldview is that advanced mobile connectivity is good because it allows customers to connect in various ways to their friends, family, business associates, etc with ease.  However the key is that if none of the things or people the customer has relationships with uses smart phones, develops apps or utilizes the internet, they will not buy smart phones.  It would be like buying only 1 walkie-talkie.  It is the relationships that people have with various people and technologies that drive them to buy a smart phone or any product for that matter.

Example #2

A senior in high school decides rather or not to go to college.  The behavior is the choosing, and rather or not a parent wants to encourage their children to attend college, focusing on correcting the behavior misses the boat.  The choice stems from the perceived value of education, and the belief or worldview that a better education will provide for a better life.  This stems back to the senior’s relationships.  If his role models who went to college either family or friends struggles to pay bills, yet his uncle Bob is a multi-million dollar high school dropout who founded a successful business, will this kid still choice college?  Conversely if his older brother didn’t go to college and he struggles in life, which way will he decide?


They key is to peel back the onion before trying to fix behaviors.  If your child will not take your advice, how is the relationship?  If your customers continually have issues with your service, or you receive many service cancellations, how are your ongoing relationships with your customers?  The applications for this discovery process are infinite.